Working as a barista is its own special circle of absolute retail hell. You have to wake up before the sun does, sometimes after barely surviving the closing shift the night before, and serve smug customers crazy drinks from a “secret menu” so secret even YOU don’t know about it. And, you have to do it all with a smile on your face when what you really want to do is toss scalding 2% milk in their face after they mention last-minute that they wanted fat-free.
You’re under constant scrutiny from customers, managers, franchise owners, two-faced co-workers, and that weird dude who comes in just to use your Wi-Fi. All. Damn. Day. Fortunately for us, the internet provides us a much-needed outlet to vent.
Check out these 15 epic barista rants that will have you rage-nodding your head.
15 I Went To Grad School And All I Got Was This Lousy Apron
Be a barista, just until you get through college, they said. It’s good money, they said. One doesn’t simply become a barista for a little while, it’s like a gang. Mocha in, triple-shot non-fat latte heated to EXACTLY 180 degrees, out. And coffee shops are always under-staffed. You told your hiring manager that you’re a student and can’t work full-time, but does that stop them from gradually upping your hours? Nope. And that’s not even factoring in all the whiney texts from co-workers begging you to cover their shifts for them.
Before you know it, that barista life takes over and you convince yourself that making a career out of it may not be such a bad thing. Until some a-hole customer strolls in 10 seconds before closing and you have to serve them with a smile on your face while mentally stabbing them in the eyeballs with the sharp end of the frothing thermometer.
It’s lunch hour and you’re being bombarded by a horde of caffeine-deprived customers. You’re about to finish making your 500th vanilla latte of the day when you see a customer pop their head over the counter with a scowl on their face. Then they say some of the most rage-inducing words you can say to a barista, “I ordered that iced.” Your hand starts to shake and it takes every fiber of your being to not pump peppermint syrup in their eyeballs. But then you remember that each pump of flavor is 30 cents and decide against it.
There are few things worse than having to keep your composure in the face of a customer who insists they ordered something one way when you know damned well that they didn’t.
13 Closing Time
If the store closes at 10:00 PM, and a customer walks in at 9:57 PM, how many different ways do you imagine murdering that person while making their stupid Frappuccino? The answer is all of the ways. And this always happens when you decide to be an overachiever and get everything clean a few minutes early in hopes that you can, I dunno, leave work on time?
The best way to ensure a customer will walk in 30 seconds before you close is to make any plans after work. Pre-ordered tickets to go see that new movie you’ve been waiting for months to release? How about a gaggle of free Wi-Fi addicted teenagers posted up on your couches, choosing the perfect Instagram filter for their coffee? And even though you’ve locked the doors and turned off your “open” sign, there’s Grease Face McGee smearing face juice all over your door, yelling, “Are you open?” through the glass. Guess who gets to clean that off in the morning?
12 THAT Guy
Being balls-deep (not literally) in drink orders all day means that, try as you may, it can be tough to look up and see who you’re serving for longer than the five seconds it takes to holler their name into a sea of people. But, soon, you start seeing the same drink order daily, and then you associate that drink order with a face. Pretty soon, that drink order becomes their identity. Tell me you saw Pam tongue-kissing her Pomeranian at Pet Smart, and I’ll blank-stare at you for five minutes. Tell me you saw banana bread and non-fat Breve lady (even though you’ve told her a million times that non-fat milk no longer makes it a Breve), and I’ll instantly know who you’re talking about.
11 The Other Girl Always Charges Me $3.75
Well, ya know what? The other girl is a fecking moron, okay? I don’t know what to tell you. My name’s Julie, by the way.
Every coffee place has those special, established customers, aka entitled cheapskates, whose drink prices have been grandfathered in solely because no one wants to deal with the verbal hellfire they’ll rain down on you if you dare to charge them even a nickel more than they’re used to paying. Seriously, just give them their order and take their $2 bill they somehow seem to have every time. After all, they’ve been kind enough to leave you a whole 25 cent tip which, based off their snooty facial expressions, basically makes you a Sultan now. Have a great day, Linda, I’ll just be over here swimming in emeralds.
10 F*ck You Very Much
Speaking of cheapskates. You gotta love those customers who wink at you and tell you they’ll tip you next time. These are the same people who order their “usual” at the register even though you’ve never seen them before and will most-likely never see them again. Listen up, buddy, if you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, don’t order a coffee. It’s customer etiquette 101 from the common-sense manual that seems to have gone missing these days.
If you’re skimping out on my tip, you’d better have a damned good reason for doing so, like you just got robbed of everything except for the exact amount it cost for your stupid coffee, and this is the last earthly thing you get to consume before you are tied to a raft in a Viking funeral and sent ablaze down some river to Valhalla.
9 The Worst
You’ve got a line snaking out the door, with no end in sight, when your machine locks up suddenly and displays that cringe-worthy message: Grounds Drawer Full. Please Empty. Are you effing kidding me? There’s no way, between these customers screaming (or worse, whispering) orders into my face, my manager asking if I can go help out another flustered employee, and customers sticking their germ-infested hands over the counter to grab stir sticks from my side, that I can find even an iota of a second to empty grounds. Yet, somehow, we push through and make magic happen. You’re welcome. The thanks we get for all our efforts? A 50lb trash bag full of coffee grounds and severe back pain. But, no, thank you. #Blessed.
8 That’s Not How You Make That
Know what else is super fun about being a barista? The unbridled joy that is a newbie barista or obnoxious customer who comes to your register with an overly detailed order who then tries to tell you how to do your job. Who are you? The author of How To Coffee: For Dummies? Oh, you just backpacked through Europe and they make real cappuccinos there? Well, yay for you and them! But right now you’re in my store, on my shift, and I’m pretty sure I know how to do my job, so close your gaping scream-hole and enjoy your coffee with a side of STFU. I’ve been wiping my own ass for 20+ years, but you don’t see me popping my head through your bathroom window, giving you advice on how to do it (front to back, ladies, front to back).
7 Did You Find Someone To Cover Your Shift?
Oh, you’re taking a “sick day”? That’s cute. When you work any form of retail, the only time it’s acceptable to call in sick is if you’re saying goodbye to family members on your death bed, and even then, you’d better call in five hours before your shift starts and have called every employee who has the day off to see if they can cover for you. Only then can you experience the sweet embrace of death. You handed in your (laundered) apron, and name tag, too, right? The next Tiffany we hire is gonna need those.
But, seriously, you know you’re a barista when it would be more acceptable to roll into work wearing a gas mask and full Hazmat suit than it would be to take the day off due to that highly contagious bug you’ve caught.
6 Who Pissed In Your Oatmeal?
Welcome to Starbucks, I’m Beyoncé- just make you your half-caff? Gotcha. Oh, and thanks for throwing your money on the counter INSTEAD OF PUTTING IT IN MY OUTSTRETCHED HAND, YOU SONUVA. When someone asks me what I enjoy about being a barista, I take my hallucination medicine, because when you’re a barista, no one gives a crap what you think. You are just their drug dealer, handing over ounces of caffeine.
What would retail be without an over-abundance of rude customers? The moment you clock-in at work, you magically turn into a doormat. You may as well not even have a name. Small-talk? As if, peasant. But despite being treated like human garbage, we still put a smile on our face time and time again, because you never know when a mystery shopper might be in front of you or a GM could pop in for a surprise visit.
5 What Am I? A Mathematician?
Oh, you just found 27 cents in your purse after I’ve already keyed in the totals and am now forced to do the maths while a thousand sighing customers fill the store with the stench of impatience? STELLAR! Does my nametag say Isaac Freaking Newton? It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m being bum-rushed. Ain’t nobody got time to bust out calculators.
The next time you dig into the black abyss that is your purse to scavenge for a few gum-covered pennies, thinking you’re being uber helpful, do us both a favor and just don’t. If you do, just know that I’m flipping you off so hard from inside of my apron pockets. Oh, hey, there’s a dollar in here from yesterday I totally forgot about.
4 I Believe In You
Unless you are physically unable to do so, which I know you’re not, because I can hear you through my headset, you can actually order your drink yourself instead of having your significant other or friend repeat your complicated order for you, and then getting all pissy at them because they aren’t ordering it right. A barista’s absolute favorite things to hear through the drive-thru are: obnoxiously loud car engines, five minutes of complete silence after you’ve asked three times what you can get for the person in the car that you can SEE pulled up beside the menu, parents who think it’s cute to have their toddlers put in their order, and two people shouting into your headset at the same time. What is going on?
3 How Is This My Problem?
It’s super fun when you’re already frazzled trying to whip up five different drink orders all at the same time, but then you get that customer who grows increasingly more red-faced each millisecond that passes where they don’t have their drink in hand. They plant themselves directly in front of the “Pick-up” counter, despite the six people who have ordered before them, and stare at you, unblinking, as you shout out finished orders for people who are not them. They check their watch every five seconds and angrily mutter that they “have some place to be” or “are running late.” Sometimes, these absolute gems of people will grab every drink you set out and ask, “Is this a so-and-so?” Sir, you need to calm down.
Ugh, we know they’re just trying to be nice, so we put on an apologetic smile with a, “Great, how about yours?” even though our soul is as black as the doppio they’ve ordered. But if there’s one person every barista hates, it’s the “Why don’t you smile” person. And, not to be sexist, but it’s usually a guy. Can I just die in this dumpster fire that is my life in peace, please? Do you smile every minute of every day? I bet not, Greg, I bet not, so take your nonchalant requests for bright-eyed optimism somewhere else. Oh, I’m prettier when I smile? How could I forget that I exist on this earth solely to whip up and serve delicious beverages with a smile on my face, and a spring in my step?
1 How To Be A Barista
Topping off these awesome barista rants is this epic “how-to” graphic by @fox_richards.
This graphic summarizes what it’s like to be a barista with the good and the bad. No matter how much you complain about your job, you continue to show up and put on your “pleased to serve you” game face, and it’s because even though people are mostly jerks and you strive for unattainable perfection in one of the most thankless jobs, you still find some amazing friends in your co-workers and get those regulars that totally rock and make your day.
Baristas work long hours, including holidays, on their feet while being nagged by managers and customers, go on runs to the bank for petty cash and other stores for supplies using their own gas that they won’t be reimbursed for, re-make dozens of orders without spitting in them, cut their breaks short because they see a line start to form, and try their damndest to give top-notch customer service even though it very rarely gets rewarded, or even acknowledged.
So, be patient with your baristas, and tip them well. Because if you don’t, they can always over-charge you and/or put decaf in your coffee.